Ray Middleton (above) is credited with playing Superman during appearances at the 1939 World's Fair. But it would take Kirk Alyn to bring his own crotch bulge to movie fans. He's not the most well-known of actors who played Superman on the screen, but just one look at him in his costume makes it easy to see Kirk Alyn's take on the man of steel remains a favorite of crotch cadets the world over. Kirk clearly had the goods to pack a punch where it counted.
In addition to performing Broadway, Kirk worked as a singer and dancer in vaudeville before moving to Hollywood in the early 1940s to make feature films, where he was successful only in gaining bit parts in low-budget films before landing the role of Superman in 1948. In fact, Kirk was the first actor to play Superman on the big screen, first in the 1948 film serial Superman, which consisted of 15 episodes that recounted Superman’s arrival on Earth, getting a job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper, and meeting sidekicks Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. Kirk would then star in the 1950 sequel, Atom Man Vs. Superman.
Alyn would later recall the day that producer Sam Katzman asked him to play Superman:"I thought it was a publicity stunt. I didn't think you could ever put
Superman on film. They brought the people from D.C. Comics [sic] over
and they said, 'Hey, he looks just like Clark Kent.' They said take off
your shirt, so I did and flexed my muscles. Then the guy said, 'Take off
your pants' and I said, 'Wait a minute.' I was 37 when I played
Superman. I picked up that girl and ran up that flight of stairs like it
Kirk Alyn died on March 14, 1999 at the age of 88. He was survived by three children.